Valentine’s Day is Feb. 14

Romance is what you make it. Get going.

By Andrea Gaines

We think of Valentine’s Day as a day of love.

And, although the day might actually have had some pretty unloving origins – two Roman dissidents met their demise at the hands of Emperor Claudius II on this day – my view is that we all have a well-established right to show our love on this special day, Feb. 14.  There is also the Feast of Saint Valentine’s connection.

The tradition is thousands of years old.  So, savor it. Love is what you make of it.

What’s a bird got to do with it?

In the 1800s, people were told to pay attention to the first bird they saw on this lovely day.  Tradition had it, that if a sparrow was the first bird you saw, you were going to marry a poor person – but you’d still be happy. Here are some of the other happy and sad bird signs:

  • A woodpecker: you’ll remain single that year; bluebird: you’ll marry a happy person; blackbird: you’ll marry a member of the clergy; goldfinch: you’ll marry a millionaire; robin: you’ll marry a sailor; hawk: you’ll marry a soldier or brave person; owl: your love will die young; crossbill: you’ll marry an argumentative or bad-tempered person; a flock of doves: you will have a happy marriage.

More fun

Directed at single women, obviously, here are some other Valentine’s Day musings. Quite romantic, and fun.

  • In some cultures,  you would marry the first eligible man you see that day.
  • Others say you should write the first name of the first man you see on a piece of paper; that’s the first name of the man you will marry.  You can also note the first name of the first man you hear on the radio, or see on TV.
  • Cut an apple in half.  The number of seeds you see is the number of children you’ll have.
  • If you find a glove on the road, your future love will have the missing glove.
  • Put a silver coin under your pillow, your true love will propose to you by the end of the year.
  • If you tie a blue satin ribbon around your ankle, you’ll be kissed by day’s end.
  • If you pin a bay leaf to each corner of your pillow … you will dream of your future love.

Valentine’s Day cards and sentiments

The passing around of Valentines’ Day cards is not as old as the day itself.  Cards started showing up about 600 years ago.

This tradition may have started thanks to an old gent imprisoned in the Tower of London.  He wrote a love note to his wife one year (in 1415).

They say that some 80 percent of people send at least one Valentine’s Day card.

In medieval times, “suiters” would read poetry or sing to the object of their affection.

If you want to get really romantic, and old-timey, try using what is believed to be a traditional greeting to one’s beloved, addressing them as “My right well beloved Valentine.”

Cupid – with his/her bow and arrow – gave a little malicious edge to Valentine’s Day, while the heart symbol on Valentine’s Day cards is probably of religious origins.

Originally, cards (with 190 million sent each year in the US) were made with real lace and ribbons.  Paper lace was introduced in the mid-1800s.  Flowers, chocolates (Cadbury), and the giving of other gifts started in the late 1800s and early 1900s.

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